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City Employees Display Art at ‘Our Hidden Talents’ Exhibit

Show Runs Until January 3 at Cabrillo Arts Pavilion


The City of Santa Barbara recently availed the walls of the Cabrillo Arts Pavilion to Santa Barbara’s talented city employees and opened its doors to the public for its annual city-sponsored arts and crafts show.

“Our Hidden Talents,” the theme for the 2011 show, gives full-time, hourly, and retired City of Santa Barbara employees a venue to showcase their talents while making some pieces available for purchase.

“Hidden Talents” is the community’s chance to discover more about the people who make the city run whether they are practiced artists, enthusiasts, or beginners. All involved had something to show unrelated to their city work.

Neive Tierney's <em>Patio Bliss</em>
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Neive Tierney’s Patio Bliss

Many Santa Barbara residents may not know that, as a photographer, Santa Barbara Airport Marketing Specialist Lynn Houston worked with 20 famous celebrities during the 1980s or that Brian Baker, a traffic officer at the airport, studies artists like Tamayo, Picasso, and van Gogh.

“We know they’re city employees, but we also know they have talents outside of work,” said Susan Jang Bardick of the Parks and Recreation Department.

Many employees use art and craft as an outlet and look forward to the show. Chuck Christman of the Parks and Recreation Department submitted two of his heavy mosaics but also branched out to watercolor for which he took classes at the Schott Center for continuing education and premiered at the show.

“It [art] is how I unwind,” said Christman. “I don’t watch TV anymore. I read and work on my art. It’s great.”

The show also gives city employees a chance to interact with people they would never meet and builds community among the employees by giving them insight into their colleagues.

Brian Baker's <em>Strawberry Pickers</em>
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Brian Baker’s Strawberry Pickers

People typically get to know each other in one context, according to Baker, and this gives city workers a chance to show a different side.

“When I saw these [Brian Baker’s oil paintings] I was happy, but then I saw who did them,” said Mabel Shatavsky, the executive assistant to the Santa Barbara Airport’s director. “I had no idea.”

Aside from curating the exhibition, Santa Barbara artist Arturo Tello also judged the submitted works and awarded four with honors.

Baker’s Strawberry Pickers, a vibrantly colored oil painting of field workers comprised of geometric shapes, took first place. Neive Tierney’s breezy, brightly colored, and almost-whimsical painting, Patio Bliss, came in second followed by Richard E. Stokes’s … I Surrender, a mixed medium, wall-mounted sculpture of an angel’s face painted onto a wood surface with a lighting fixture halo jutting out from the two-dimensional plane. Houston’s retro black and white photo of Diana Ross, Diana, received Honorable Mention.

The 70-piece “Our Hidden Talents” art show opened November 29 and will stay up until January 3. The exhibition is open to the public Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

“It’s true of all humans; we’re a myriad of talents,” said Houston. “Some people think government workers are drones, but they’re not, they’re humans.

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